Too Fat for Surgery

U.S. News & World Report—April 11, 2016

U.S. News & World Report's Anna Medaris Miller explains the importance of weighing the benefits and risks of undergoing surgery, like a knee replacement, when significantly overweight. According to the article, performing surgery on a patient who is obese can be more complicated for surgeons, riskier for patients and more costly. With this understanding, several surgeons shared their perspective of the risk associated with obese patients undergoing surgery.

For instance, Michael L. Parks, MD, a hip and knee surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, suggests that, "While obesity does raise the risks of surgical complications, those don't always outweigh the benefits of the procedure. Obese patients have the same mobility, pain and quality of life issues that nonobese patients have. We have to weigh ... their improvement in quality of life versus the potential costs."

Dr. Parks also mentions in the article that patients should "find a doctor who's willing to work with you, and … not just operate on you, but engage with you, discuss with you, let you know the potential risks and benefits [and] have an open, non-judgmental conversation."

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